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February 10, 2023

Heart Valve Awareness hearts4heart

Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week (February 20 -26)

Heart valve disease (HVD) affects more than half a million Australians, yet public awareness remains low. In fact, an estimated 250,000 Australians are unaware that they are living with the condition.

If left untreated, HVD can damage the heart’s valves, leading to heart failure, stroke, and arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat).

However, early detection and timely treatment can increase longevity and improve quality of life for those living with HVD, making education and awareness of the disease vitally important.

Heart Valve Disease (HVD) Awareness Week aims to:

1.) improve recognition of the risks and symptoms specific to HVD,

2.) encourage people at risk of HVD, including those age 65 and older, and anyone experiencing symptoms, to speak with their GP about getting their heart checked,

3.) increase early detection and treatment,

4.) and ultimately save lives.

Heart 2 Heart: Get informed, be inspired!

Coinciding with Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week, this one-hour online event will bring together hearts4heart CEO and founder Tanya Hall, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Director Professor Tom Marwick, and Phil Holmes, who has been living with heart valve disease since 2018.

They’ll discuss how heart valve disease occurs, symptoms, who is at risk, and how to prevent it. Plus, they’ll be answering your questions!



What is Heart Valve Disease (HVD)?

Heart valve disease (HVD) is a serious and common condition where one or more of the valves in the heart do not open or close properly, which can lead to problems with blood flow. This can cause symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat.

When left undetected, HVD can lead to complications like heart failure, stroke, and heart rhythm problems.  But early detection and timely treatment (e.g., medicines, lifestyle changes, or surgery) can increase longevity and improve quality of life for those affected by HVD.


Are you at risk?

People of all ages can develop heart valve disease, but the following factors increase risk.

– Over age 65

– Family history of heart valve disease

– Pre-existing heart conditions

– High blood pressure

– Have had open heart surgery

– Smoker

– Have had certain infections, such as rheumatic fever or endocarditis


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include any of the following:

– Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity

– Fatigue

– Palpitations (feeling your heart racing or pounding)

– Chest pain or discomfort

– Swelling of the ankles, feet, abdomen or chest

– Coughing or wheezing

– Dizziness

– Fainting or near-fainting

– A heart murmur (abnormal sound heard when listening to the heart with a stethoscope)

– Unexplained weight loss


Concerningly, symptoms are often dismissed as a “normal part of ageing”, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. And some people with the disease experience no symptoms at all.


Don’t leave it to chance, check your heart in advance.

If you’re experiencing symptoms or at risk of heart valve disease, speak with your GP about getting your heart checked using a stethoscope. This simple test could be the first step in detecting HVD and taking action to protect your heart.

A small conversation can go a long way. Start a chat about your heart health today.

Starting a conversation about your heart health with a loved one or healthcare professional can be difficult. That’s why we’ve developed heart2heart, a simple game designed to facilitate conversations about heart valve disease and support players in setting goals to improve their heart health.

heart2heart creates the perfect setting for a discussion about heart valve health through:

– Trivia questions developed to help gauge people’s level of knowledge and understanding about the condition

– Personal prompts to encourage people to share their own knowledge to drive a relatable conversation and a sense of shared understanding

– Open ended questions that encourage people to share their thoughts and feelings about heart valve disease to ensure your perspectives are heard and valued

– Mini challenges and goal-setting tips to help turn your conversation into tangible actions

After downloading the game, just cut the game cards, fold, and play. It’s that easy and can be played anywhere – at home, with friends, or with your GP.

Hearts4heart encourages everyone to join the conversation, have a #heart2heart and help spread the word about HVD.

Together, we can make a difference!

Click here to download our heart2heart Conversation Game

Click here to download our Heart Valve Disease Symptom tracker

Click here to read more about Treating Heart Valve Disease

Click here to download our Heart Valve Diagnosis Booklet

Click here to download our Heart Valve Doctor Consultation Guide


We always appreciate people helping us spread the word. If you would like to get involved in Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week, please email [email protected] for more information and shareable social media assets.

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